Verdict: No new religious affiliation of a child in a foster family

Verdict: No new religious affiliation of a child in a foster family

OLG Hamm: "First determination" of the birth mother remains binding

(jur). The religious affiliation of a child determined by the parents remains valid even if the child grows up in a foster family that belongs to another religion and also actively lives it. This was decided by the Higher Regional Court (OLG) Hamm in a decision announced on Friday, May 6, 2016 (file number: 2 UF 223/15).

A girl from Duisburg who is eight years old now remains Muslim. Her mother comes from North Africa and is Muslim. The father is evangelical but not custody.

However, shortly after the birth, the youth welfare office took care of the girl and also deprived the mother of part of the parental care, including the right of residence and health care. However, the mother repeatedly expressed the wish that her daughter should be brought up in a Muslim way.

In 2008, the mother's family court completely removed parental responsibility and transferred it to the youth welfare office as a guardian. The girl is now growing up in a permanent foster family. Their children are baptized Catholic and are raised by the parents accordingly.

The foster parents now wanted their foster daughter to be baptized Catholic so that she could take part in Catholic religious instruction at school. The family court still agreed. When the biological mother complained, the OLG Hamm reversed this decision.

The OLG decided that the guardian, here the youth welfare office, could not redefine the belief that had been established. Religious affiliation had already been determined by the mother as part of her parental concern, which was still in place at the time. The guardian is also bound to this "first determination". The law does not allow an amendment. It does not matter whether this also corresponds to the best interests of the child, according to the OLG Hamm in its already legally binding decision of March 29, 2016. (mwo)

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